Student Tour Performers Excel in New York City

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Travel Adventures, a successful student tour provider, recently coordinated arrangements for student groups to perform at the 2008 National Performing Arts Festival.

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empower teachers to create change by expanding the classroom to the world.

Comments like "Bravo", "Amazing", and "Excellent" cascaded throughout New York City for the performances that were part of the National Performing Arts Festival. Ten of the top high school and middle school theater troupes from throughout the nation attended the festival held at Haft Auditorium on the campus of the Fashion Institute of Technology on two separate weekends in February and April 2008. Each group performed a 20-minute selection from a theatrical production of their choice. A panel of professional adjudicators evaluated the performances and critiqued each group in a private, interactive feedback clinic.

"The National Performing Arts Festival provided an outstanding educational and competitive experience for students," commented Dr. Dave Thompson of Travel Adventures, Inc., a student group tour provider which coordinates student travel to the popular event.

The festival also featured Solo and Duo competition, theatrical seminars for the actors on topics such as audition techniques, stage movement, vocal training, and acting techniques. The festival concluded with an awards ceremony where the outstanding performing troupes and individuals were recognized by the judges.

Two of the drama troupes traveled from as far away as California, while the remainder came from Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio, Virginia, Georgia, Massachusetts, and New York. Six of the groups presented popular school productions like Disney's High School Musical, Bye Bye Birdie, and Schoolhouse Rock Live. The other four covered a wide range of topics from comedy (Hard Candy) to drama (Dancing at Lughnasa) and an original composition entitled In Unity we Stand.

The top two performing troupes received a Superior Rating from a panel of theater professionals and the Judges Award for best festival production. They were:

Westford Academy from Westford, MA under the direction of Michael Towers for their production of Dancing at Lughnasa. Written by Brian Friel, one of Ireland's most important playwrights, Dancing at Lughnasa employs the central motif of dancing and music to explore themes of Irish cultural identity, nostalgia, historical change, and pagan ritual.

William Byrd High School from Vinton, VA under the direction of Carol Webster for their production of School House Rock LIVE! Based on the Emmy Award winning cartoon series, the show tells the story of Tom, a school teacher nervous about his first day of teaching, who tries to relax by watching TV. Suddenly, the Schoolhouse Rock bunch appear in his recreation room and proceed to show him how to win his students over with imagination and music, that cover a variety of subjects: math, science, history and grammar.

This is the fifth year of the festival in New York City. Annual festivals are also held at Walt Disney World® Resort and as part of a Bahamas Cruise.

Travel Adventures is a student tour provider staffed by educators who understand the needs of teachers. It has served over one half million students since 1987 and its mission is to "empower teachers to create change by expanding the classroom to the world." To discover more about Travel Adventures and its many educational programs, visit

Dr. David Thompson, Educational Coordinator, Travel Adventures, Inc., 1175 S. Lapeer Road, Lapeer, MI 48446, Phone: 810-664-1777 X168, (dthompson @

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